Announcing an in-person 4-Hour Specialty Course FREE for iTPA and USPTA members. Speed, Agility & Quickness for Tennis: Creative Programming to Add Value To Your On-Court Training. Sunday, June 9th in Mt Kisco, NY from 4 - 8 PM EST. See details below and register today! (If you are an iTPA Member, email us to let us know you are attending).Event Webpage: www.itpa-tennis.org/agility-course When:
Sunday, June 9, 2013
4:00 - 8:00 PM ESTWhere:
Saw Mill Racket Club
77 Kensico Drive
Mt Kisco, NY 10549
Complimentary for iTPA and USPTA Members$50 for any individual not a member
of iTPA or USPTA
*If you are an iTPA Member in good standing and will be attending, please email us here
so we can get an accurate head count.
You must send us an email in order to attend the event.
Worth 50 iTPA CPE creditsWhat:
This four hour specialty course will provide specific drills and exercises to develop tennis-specific speed, agility and quickness. Improving tennis-specific movement is paramount to success on the court at every level of the game. The format of the course is designed to allow the participant to learn the best methods and progressions and how to link these drills and exercises with strokes and strategy. The entire course will be on-court and in an interactive format to ensure a full understanding of how these drills and exercises can be implemented into your lesson plans.
Come and join your fellow professionals in a unique format that will allow significant interaction and case examples with scenarios that you encounter every day with your players. Worth 50 iTPA Continuing Professional Education Credits and 2 USPTA credits. NO refunds, even if you are not able to attend.
The USPTA Eastern is hosting it's annual TennisFest on June 9th and 10th. Information and registration here.
Three Lessons Learned From the 2013 Australian Open
1. Novak Djokovic's Recovery Capabilities
This has to be the most impressive aspect of the entire tournament. After more than a five hour marathon beating Stan Wawrinka, Novak was able to come back and easily dispose of Tomas Berdych and David Ferrer in dominating fashion. He then outlasted Andy Murray in the final. Many questions arose from the media and behind the scenes about how he could recover and play great tennis after such a physical and punishing match. Novak employs many different techniques to help improve recovery, from a strict diet to different modalities involving massage, cold and warm water treatments and other technologies to speed recovery. However, the biggest aspect of recovery is how hard the athlete trains leading into the tournament.
2. Andy Murray's Blisters
After the hundreds of hours of pre-season work by Andy Murray, he came into the Australian Open in great physical shape and moved through the first few rounds of the Australian in devastating form. He came into the Open final looking good and played well in the first couple of sets. Then he called the trainer to work on a major blister on the inside of his left foot. As most of you are aware, bad blisters can be devastating for a tennis athlete due to the constant stop, start nature and the hundreds of movements that the athlete goes through in every match. Unfortunately, something as simple as blisters derailed Andy's chance of really contending at 100% for the last 2 sets of the final. This is an important lesson to everyone working with competitive athletes. The athlete is only as strong as his or her weakest link. Although every major factor was accounted for in Andy's training leading to the final, the one area that led to his downfall was something as simple as blisters. This is an important lesson to teach all athletes. Everything needs to be accounted for when preparing for a major tournament - including blisters.
3. Serena Williams Injury
Serena was a strong favorite going into the Australian Open this year; she was looking very strong in the lead up tournament in Sydney. During her first round she rolled her right ankle 19 minutes into the match. On television it appeared to be rather severe, but she was able to still win her match 6-0 6-0 but with very little movement. Even though it was obvious that her movement was impeded, she continued to win through to the Quarterfinals where she faced the young American Sloane Stephens. Midway through the match while running for a short ball Serena aggravated a back injury which was noticeably painful. Although it is impossible to say with certainty, the weakened ankle likely led to compensation up the leg and lower back, and this weakness and compensatory movements led her back to require movements that were atypical. This atypical movement likely was the cause of the back injury. This is an important concept to remember at any level of the game. It is important to take care of any injury (no matter how small) as an injury in the lower body can, at some point, have a deleterious effect on other parts of the body.
- Focus on maximizing training to help improve recovery
- An athlete is only as strong as his or her weakest link
- Always take care of any injury when it occurs so that the body does not overcompensate and cause a more severe reaction somewhere else in the body
Are You Training The Most Efficient Way For Tennis Specific Movement?
Tennis movement is highly situation specific and is performed in a reactive environment. This irregularity of movement requires both general movement training, but more importantly tennis-specific movement training. The need to continually respond to situations requires a fine understanding of the athlete’s game style, strategy, movement strengths and weakness. Movement for tennis is both simple and complex.
In competitive tennis, the average point length is less than 10 seconds with the recovery between points usually between 20-25 seconds. Tennis players make an average of four directional changes per point, but any given point can range from a single movement to more than 20 directional changes during a long rally. Also, it is important to remember that most movements occur in seven yards or less. Most tennis players can cover 2-3 feet more moving to the forehand side compared to the backhand side. Understanding some of these basics are very important for the coach, but just as beneficial for the individual player at any level of the game.
The majority of tennis movements are in a lateral direction. In a study of professional players’ movement, it was found that more than 70% of movements were side-to-side with less than 20% of movements in forward linear direction and less than 8% of movements in a backward linear direction (Weber et al, 2007). This is an important statistic, because the development of lateral acceleration and deceleration in the distances described above are the major determining factors in great tennis movement. It is known that linear acceleration, linear maximum velocity and agility are all separate and distinct biomotor skills that need to be trained separately, as training one biomotor skill will not directly impact the improvement of the other. Therefore, preferred training recommendations for tennis should be to focus to focus training time between 60-80% on lateral and multi-direction movements, 10-30% on linear movements.
Weber, K., S. Pieper, et al. (2007). "Characteristics and significance of running speed at the Australian Open 2006 for training and injury prevention." Medicine and Science in Tennis 12(1): 14-17.
The heat wave in the US is setting records all over the country. It is just another reminder to all tennis players at every level to take the important precautions to handle playing tennis in the heat. During the summer months it is not uncommon for tennis athletes to play more than six hours of tennis in very hot conditions. Although playing in hot and humid weather is physically and mentally draining, here are 7 practical tips that can help any tennis athlete prepare to compete in hot and humid conditions.
- Train hard before having to compete. Getting in fantastic physical shape before competing is one of the best methods to prepare for hot and humid conditions. Physically-fit athletes handle the hot and humid conditions better because they are able to consume and utilize more oxygen per breath, handle moderate increases in core temperature better and recover better between points.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate - Drinking high volumes of electrolyte-enhanced fluids will prepare the athlete and help limit the severe loss of fluids and electrolytes during play. Tennis is one of the toughest sports on the planet to maintain appropriate fluid levels during hot and humid conditions. Take precautions and train your body to consume appropriate amounts of fluid based on your sweat rate and body size. Unfortunately as many as 50% of tournament players go into matches already dehydrated.
- Consume sodium rich food and drink. Sodium is the major electrolyte lost in the sweat, and it is one factor that is related to an athlete's likelihood of cramping. "Salty sweaters" have white residue that is left on dark-colored clothing or hats. This white residue is salt deposits released from the sweat. The higher the athlete's salt concentration in the sweat, the more this white residue will show up on their apparel during and after a long match or practice session in hot and humid conditions.
- A balanced diet is important for all athletes from a general performance standpoint and especially in regard to heat-related issues.
- Wear sunscreen! Sunburn increases skin temperature and makes the body less efficient at body cooling. Most of us have been sunburned and had the feeling of heat dissipating from the skin. This process limits the amount of heat that will be moved from the core to the periphery (skin) and limits the ability to cool as efficiently as possible.
- Acclimatization to the heat and humidity (7 to 14 days prior to competition). It is known that children take a longer period of time to acclimate to hot and humid conditions compared to adults. If it is practical, it is recommended to practice the week before a tournament in conditions that are similar to what the conditions will be like during the tournament.
- Focus on tips 1 and 2 (train hard and stay well hydrated). These are two of the most important aspects of being able to compete effectively during the hot and humid summer months.
Just before the start of the 2012 French Open, an article in The New York Times
titled “The Strong Survive Match Point” discusses how important the physical aspects of the tennis are to success at the highest level.
Below is a quote from US Davis Cup Captain and former World no.1 who was considered the fittest player of his generation: “I certainly think these guys at the top, they have very large teams they work with,” said Jim Courier. “They have become very scientific about their sweat loss and replacing the minerals very specifically with what’s coming out of their bodies. And I think they’ve really taken the science on the legal side up to the next level, which is interesting. I think they also have gotten much better at recovery.”
The important of the tennis performance specialist who is trained appropriately to work with tennis athletes and who understands how to get the most of the training aspects is paramount to success on the tennis court at any level. The one major area of improvement over the next decade is the area of recovery. Most players train less than 8 hours per day (tennis, physical etc), but have 16 hours or more to focus on recovery. This recovery is mental, physical, nutritional, emotional and requires the right environment with the correct recovery modalities from sleep, to nutrition, to massage, manipulations, adjustments, hot and/or cold treatments, acupuncture, laser and many other modalities that may help speed recovery.
One of the best points in the article came from one of the best coaches over the last two decades – Paul Annacone. Coach Annacone was the coach of Pete Sampras and now Roger Federer. He emphasized the point that “Rafa is going to train totally different than Roger, and Roger will train totally different than Tsonga.”
This statement cannot be overemphasized for the tennis athlete at any level – junior, collegiate, professional, adult league or senior. The training program for each athlete needs to be developed based around the strengths and weakness of the individual athlete, and some athletes need more tennis-specific endurance work, other athletes need more speed and power work, some need extra strength work, many athletes need flexibility work, while all younger athletes needs work on general athletic skills as a foundation to build upon as they age.
The importance of having an individualized tennis-specific program for improving on-court performance and reducing injuries is now a requirement at the highest levels of the game. This same professionalism of training is also being seen at the collegiate and junior levels. Over the next decade this trend is only going to continue, and the need for qualified and highly skilled professionals to work in this environment is only increasing. Check out the International Tennis Performance Association: your resources for the most current evidence-based information from the leading minds in the field of tennis-specific training and the leader in education and certification of professionals who work with tennis athletes at any level